If you don't belong to a bank yet, it's time you find one to join. A bank lets you begin to establish yourself as a solid financial customer. When it's time to get a loan for college or a credit card, people will want to see that you are in good standing with your bank, so choosing the right bank is important.
- Talk to your parents. Your parents probably already have a relationship with a bank. Ask them if their bank would be a good place to open an account for you.
- Do some research. At your age, you'll probably want a bank that has good options for a savings and a checking account. A savings account is a good idea because you can earn interest on your money (the bank gives you money to keep your money with them) and a checking account is a great way to establish your ability to pay bills on time and manage your money effectively. You should ask what each bank offers in terms of interest rates, whether you'll have to carry a minimum balance, the number of withdrawals you can make, and whether the bank charges a fee to open accounts.
- Think about location and hours. Make sure the bank is conveniently located, like near your home or school. Be sure to check the bank's hours as well. Some banks are open late at least one evening a week and many offer good weekend hours too.
- Talk to your parents about banking. Your parents probably have a lot of experience with banking that you don't have yet. Choosing a bank is a great start to understanding and managing your money, but there's a lot more to it. Talk to them about the different types of accounts and how you can keep track of what's in your accounts and what you spend.
- Before you head to the bank, find out what you'll need to bring to open the account. If you're under eighteen, you'll probably need your parent or guardian to come with you, plus an ID and a social Security number.
As a military teen, you might move at some point, which means you'll have to close your bank account where you live now and open a bank account in your new neighborhood. Don't worry; it won't be a problem! Just call your bank and ask about how to close or move your account to a new location.
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military lifestyle to managing their social lives, saving money, and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!